Back in 2013 my good friend Stephen bought this Raft maple from Willowbog Bonsai. The tree, Acer Palmatum Anyropurpureum, had previously been started from garden Centre material having. Even laid horizontally in a box for a few year to create the raft image. It had been displayed in John Hanbys Newstead Exhibition in 2010. These are some of the photos from the trees creation through to around 2012.
Stephen exhibited the tree in Bonsai Europa in 2015.
In 2019 the tree moved about 200 yards from Stephen’s home to Kris’s place. The size and weight of the tree meant that Stephen moved the tree on and who better than a friend who is easy to visit. Today we masked up and got down to the task of repotting the tree. It got a trim first. A good time to make cuts as having the roots worked means they won’t bleed. Here’s the full process step by step.
A few branch adjustments to be made once the tree has settled. A pleasure to have helped work this tree for the last 8 years. A unique tree and an awkward species, Antropurpureum is not often used for bonsai as it’s larger leaf and courser growth can put people off. I look forward to seeing Kris progress this tree in the years to come. It’s nice to record the provenance here for all to see.
A week yesterday, where does the time go! I was taking part in a group Workshop in Belfast with Bjorn Bjorholm. I missed him the last time he visited due to a holiday but this time I grabbed a slot with Belfast Bonsai’s event.
My tree for the day was only a recent addition to my collection but a tree that I have a special connection to. It belonged to my best friend Stephen who was letting a few of his bigger trees go due to the fact that they were bigger than him. Sorry Stephen, I can’t resist 🙂 The tree was originally purchased as raw material from Willowbog Bonsai back in the late 90’s.
I helped Stephen with it’s first styling on 11th September 2001, a date that will forever stay in my memory and why I call the tree the 9/11 Scottie. I can remember standing wiring this tree with Stephen when my wife knocked the window and told us to come inside. We watched the horror unfold.
When Stephen told me he was selling it all these years later I didn’t hesitate to buy it. I have a few trees that have sentimental value to me because of who used to own them but this tree resonates for a different reason. I’ve dealt with a fair bit of stress in my life including Post Traumatic Stress and, for whatever reason, this tree seems to echo back to a time where those involved and survived no doubt have many of the same issues I have. This probably sounds stupid unless you’ve experienced something similar. Anyway, it’s my tree for my reasons and I suppose that’s all that really matters. It seemed fitting for an American Bonsai artist to carry out the work some 18 years later nearly to the day.
This is the tree back in 2001\2.
and a few other pics of it over the years.
and how it was prior to the workshop.
And this is a gallery of the workshop day with my tree.
The finished tree.
A massive thank you to Bjorn. It was pleasing to see that he was as enthusiastic about the tree and result as I was.
A new pot in the Spring more suited to the style and the tree will live on as a memory for me.
As part of the NI Bonsai Society programme for the last four years we have had the pleasure of delivering the ‘Bonsai School’ 3 times a year for the last 4 years. This has been in partnership with Willowbog Bonsai and in particular, Peter Snart.
I’ve known Peter for over 15 years and in that time we have become firm friends. As I host the school sessions at my home, I have had Peter as a house guest 12 times since 2011 and this doesn’t count many other times in previous years. The favour has been returned when I have visited Willowbog Bonsai to attend shows and take part in workshops with people such as Ryan Neil, Peter Warren and Marco Invernizzi.
Peter has now called time on the school in it’s current format, I think mainly due to the fact that he’s fed up packing that bloody van!! 🙂
Bonsai for me is as much about friendship as wee trees and I’m delighted to have both Peter and Jean as friends. The school may be over but the friendship continues. I’m pretty sure he’ll be back at some point and I’m definitely sure I’ll be at Willowbog in the years to come, but in the meantime, thank you Peter.
This is part 1 of 6 showing Mr Peter Warren on one of his wanders around the exhibits. I only got a small portion on video as I was crowded out by the hordes in attendance 🙂 Not a bad thing at a show I think.
At the recent Willowbog Workshop on Sunday Ben brought along his Squamata Juniper for some block carving work by Peter Snart. Peter got Ben to do a little Rip and tear on a few of the finer bits of deadwood first and then he got stuck in with the Makita to do some basic block carving on the heavier areas. Peter reckons he’d need a week to do the tree. If he carves as fast as he walks, I’d believe it too 😉